What is the Kimberley Process?

The KP requires participants to institute national legislation and institutions to control exports and imports of rough diamonds and to share statistical data. Participant countries and regions, including South Africa, Canada, Russia, India, Namibia and Botswana, gather twice a year for plenary meetings and working groups.

While the Kimberley Process has what is the kimberley process certainly done a lot of good, there are still concerns that it lacks transparency and is vulnerable to loopholes.

1. The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme

The KPCS is an international certification scheme that regulates the diamond trade. Its rules state that participants must meet certain minimum requirements, establish new institutions to control diamond import and export, and commit to transparency. They must also agree to only trade with other participants and mark all shipments as conflict-free.

The aim is to stop the flow of illegally mined and traded diamonds, known as “conflict diamonds” or blood diamonds, from war-torn countries to finance armed rebellion against legitimate governments. These rebel movements are often led by warlords, who may use the diamond money to fund atrocities such as massacres, rape, forced displacement and other human rights abuses.

However, the system has its problems. For one, its scope is narrow. It focuses on the mining and distribution of diamonds, which ignores larger issues such as worker exploitation. In particular, it fails to address the widespread use of child miners in Sierra Leone, who are paid just 50 cents a day and work in dismal conditions. The Kimberley Process has its pros and cons, but it does seem to have had some positive effects on the world’s diamond industry.

2. The Kimberley Process Monitoring Mechanism

In May 2000, diamond-producing states met in Kimberley, South Africa, to discuss ways to stop the sale of “conflict” diamonds. These diamonds are mined under conditions that violate human rights and are sold to fund rebel violence against legitimate governments.

In December, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution supporting the creation of an international certification system to be enforced by participating countries. Negotiations between governments, the diamond industry and civil society organizations resulted in the creation of the Kimberley Process, which was implemented in 2003.

Participating KP countries (and some non-participants) meet twice a year for intersessional and plenary meetings and work in committees and working groups. Compliance is monitored through’review visits’ and the exchange of annual reports and statistical data. The Process is chaired on a rotating basis and the participants account for over 99% of the world’s rough diamond production and trade.

The representative of Israel said that as incoming Chairman, his Government was proud of the Kimberley Process and its positive impact to reduce the role of diamonds in fueling war, violence and civil strife and protect the legitimate trade. However, he was disappointed that the Resolution did not adequately address the issues in Zimbabwe and did not include a call for accountability.

3. The Kimberley Process Enforcement Mechanism

The Kimberley Process is the internationally recognized certification scheme that aims to eradicate conflict diamonds. It requires all diamonds to have a Kimberley certificate, and it prohibits trade between KPCS participants and non-members. The system is praised worldwide, and you might have even seen it advertised at your local jewellery store or at ethical brands.

It was created after Southern African diamond-producing states recognized that the sales of their rough diamonds were helping to finance violence by rebel movements and their allies seeking to overthrow legitimate governments. The Kimberley Process has been in place since 2003, and it has been credited with eliminating the sale of so-called “blood diamonds” by limiting their supply to just 1% of all rough diamonds.

However, the system is not without its flaws. According to a report by Global Witness, the systems of controls put in place by the participating nations are weak and have not been enforced. The report also notes that the Kimberley Process tends to focus on preventing the mining and distribution of conflict diamonds, while ignoring broader issues like human rights abuse and worker exploitation.

4. The Kimberley Process Monitoring Committee

The Kimberley Process is a certification scheme launched in 2003 to prevent the mining and trade of diamonds, often referred to as “conflict diamonds” or “blood diamonds”, from war-torn countries in Africa. The money raised by the sale of these diamonds is used to finance territorial and ethnic fights between warlords, which often result in mass killings, gross human rights violations, forced migration, and widespread atrocities against civilians.

The Process unites governments, industry and civil society to reduce the flow of conflict diamonds into mainstream rough diamond markets by requiring that participants satisfy minimum requirements and establish national legislation, institutions, and import/export controls, commit to transparent practices, exchange critical statistical data, and certify shipments as conflict-free. Its members also meet twice a year at intersessional and plenary meetings and conduct monthly teleconferences. Compliance is monitored through review visits and annual reports.

The Process is currently composed of 59 participants (49 states plus the European Union) and is chaired by a participating state on a rotating basis. Non-participants are not eligible to trade in rough diamonds and can only export to participating countries.

5. The Kimberley Process Reporting Mechanism

The Kimberley Process is the international trade regime that regulates ‘blood diamonds’ (rough diamonds sold to finance civil wars) and protects the legitimate diamond trade. While it has succeeded in lowering criminal rates and reducing the amount of money, arms, and ammunition being sent to rebel groups, it’s not without its faults.

For one, it has a very narrow definition of conflict diamonds: it only covers ‘rough diamonds used by rebel movements and their Lab grown diamonds allies to finance wars against legitimate governments’. This fails to address a range of other problems that the diamond industry raises, such as exploitation of workers and environmental damage.


Another issue is that participants fail to comply with the terms of the agreement. This is exacerbated by corruption and smuggling within the diamond industry. As a result, there are countries such as Brazil and Venezuela that should be suspended from the Kimberley Process because they are not implementing the agreements properly, says Partnership Africa Canada in this report. It also criticizes the fact that participants don’t publish their diamond trade statistics or allow reviewers to visit their mines and facilities.

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